Unit on Nanoscience

Unit on Nanoscience at JNCASR
supported by
Department of Science and Technology

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology pertains to the synthesis, characterization, exploration and utilization of nanostructured materials, which are characterized by at least one dimension in the nanometer range. These constitute a bridge between single molecules and bulk systems. Individual nanostructures involve clusters, quantum dots, nanoparticles, nanowires and nanotubes, while collections of nanostructures involve arrays, assemblies and superlattices in one, two or three dimensions. Nanoobjects, in general, show quantum size effects; suitable control of the properties and response holds out a promise of technological revolution, touted as the successor to the current microelectronics. Advances in nanoscience and technology in the last five years around the globe have already brought about phenomenal changes in material manufacturing, electronics, pharmaceutical and catalysis industries. Nanoscience being an interdisciplinary topic, calls for a multi-faceted approach.

Under the stewardship of Professor C.N.R. Rao, Chairman- Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Department of Science and Technology launched Nanoscience and Technology Initiative (NSTI) to provide the much needed impetus in Academic and Industry circles in the country. Professor Rao himself being an active researcher has encouraged a large number of researchers from various Institutions across India with expertise in different disciplines –Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, biotechnology etc. A number of projects have been sanctioned under the NSTI programme for research and development leading to important potential applications.

At JNCASR, there is an active group of scientists pursuing research on different aspects of nanoscience. This includes activities in the field of synthesis and characterization of a variety of nanoobjects-tubes, wires and particles of different materials, their chemical modification and organization as well as thin films and powders of transition metal oxides showing interesting physical properties. In order to facilitate research in this direction, several new scientific equipments have been added to the existing facilities. Theoretical modeling of nanosystems has also been taken up in order to understand the underlying mechanisms, giving such interesting properties. In order to boost research interest in nanoscience, many academic activities such as courses in nanoscience, discussion meetings and symposia have been planned.

Some highlights of the research activities from the Unit: In the last few months, a variety of inorganic nanotubes and nanowires has been synthesized and characterized. New synthetic routes have been developed that provide ‘clean’ samples in good yields. These 1D systems have been tested for their potential sensing properties, rectification device behavior and field emission. Further, templated synthesis of porous nanostructures has been realized. Nanocrystals of a variety of metal oxides are shown to exhibit enhanced magnetism critically depending on the size. Besides, electronic and optical properties of mesoscopic assemblies of nanocrystals have been studied. Theoretical efforts in the field of nanomaterials have been devoted to the understanding of conduction mechanisms through various nanosystems and the simulations of their current-voltage characteristics. These studies have addressed a large number of issues concerning the way transport occurs in mesoscopic quantum systems.

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